My dear brother and friend, David Newby, graduated from this life into eternity after battling cancer for the past couple of years. To say David no longer being with us is an incredible loss would be a gross understatement. I only met David in November of 2009. I can tell you honestly that I never knew a man for such short period of time that impacted me so significantly. My relationship with David was a blessing from Father that was extremely positive and consequential in my life. I am honored and grateful to have walked with him and a better man for doing so.
As news of his passing circulated throughout the faith communities with which we relate here in the U.S., the immediate response was that of surprise. We had all been faithfully praying for David’s healing and were expecting it to be manifested. The perspective was that David was too young to leave us and that there was a considerable amount of work left for him to do for the kingdom. As saddened as we were with with the news, our concern quickly focused on David’s family; his lovely wife, Rosemary and his five children, Ben, Ariana, Timothy, Peter and Joanna. The consensus of the brothers/sisters in community with us was that I was to go as a representation of those in relationship with David here in the U.S.
As honored as I was to be sent in order to represent the communities here in the U.S., as you can imagine, I deeply regretted the circumstances of my first trip to Australia. Honestly, I was compelled to go by my love for David and to honor him and our relationship but I realized that stepping into such a situation was way beyond me. I had to completely rely upon Father’s grace and the love, prayers and support of the family in the U.S. to make it through. I knew the trip would not only be physically taxing but extremely spiritually and emotionally challenging as well.
When I arrived in Melbourne, I was immediately embraced by the Australian brothers and sisters and by the Newby family. It didn’t take me long to realize that even though I thought I was there to comfort, encourage and strengthen Rosemary and the children, what was actually transpiring was that they were doing those things for me.
The grace with which they handled their loss, navigated through the planning and execution of David’s memorial service and honored, preferred and treated one another during the course of my time with them was, in a word, inspiring. I realized, that though David was not physically present with us, he was still there teaching me and revealing Christ and His Kingdom through the lives of his wife and children.
Experiencing the memorial service itself was an eye opening event for me. David never spoke of all the accomplishments and accolades accumulated over the course of his life that spanned the business/professional, social, educational and spiritual/ministerial realms. He was truly a man’s man, verifiably a successful and accomplished entreprenuer and a spiritual father to many. Though you could recognize certain aspects of David’s life by being with and relating to him, his humility kept him from cracking the seals on a multitude of achievements that common men would willingly put on their resumes in order to appear to BE something. David simply WAS and he was secure in that existence which permitted him to focus on others, their being encouraged and developed in the things Father had intended for them.
David did that for me!
I met David only two months after my spiritual father passed away. I cannot explain the void I felt after losing Bert. Then, I met David. I never viewed David as a spiritual father, nor did he attempt to be one to me. Father knew that at the time, what I needed was a wiser, elder brother. David fit the bill nicely.
I remember during one of our initial ministry tours in the U.S., I spoke of determining the purpose of our relationship moving forward. As I expressed that, while I was open to deepening our relationship, I was not presently clear on why we had been connected. With a loving grin spread across his face, David quickly replied, “Oh, I know precisely why we are connected in the kingdom.”
He waited, rather gleefully, for me to ask him to enlighten me. I did.
“God put us together for me to help you become all that God has called you to be.”
Honestly, it was hard for me to believe him when he said it. However, the tears in his eyes convinced me. His conduct, words, love and support that followed during the course of our relationship proved his statement to be true and his intentions genuine. Even in Skyping with him a few short weeks ago while battling his illness, his concern was getting “you (Misty and I) established in the new season that Father has for you.” ( Seriously!?!?! I’m shaking my head in wonder as I write this.)
As I spoke at his memorial service last week, I intimated that one could tell David walked in the kingdom because he walked in righteousness, peace and joy. His identity as a son of God was secure because it was based upon the righteousness of Christ’s finished work and not his own ability to perform. Though he lived an incredible, if not enviable life, David had discovered how to be empowered through the Holy Spirit in his BEING so that in his doing, it was God working through him. He operated as the righteousness he had become in Christ and Father’s capability was clearly seen and felt through David’s life.
He was a man of peace. Regardless of the situations and circumstances he faced, his illness included, David refused to be ruffled and unnerved. Was he perfect in it? No. But, being privy to some of the things he faced and observing him walk through it, the peace he experienced was authentic and tangible in many ways.
And the joy! David constantly celebrated his life empowered by THE LIFE of Christ that dwelled in him. His joy was infectious and could transform the atmosphere of any room he entered. His humor and laughter was contagious and, just as he did in everything he chose to do, he gave it his all.
These traits were why David was so easily and greatly accepted in all of the communties of faith to whom we introduced him. As in my personal life, his impact was significant in the communities and in the lives of other brothers and sisters. Though he lived in Australia, he was truly a part of us and we all loved him dearly.
Obviously, I’m saddened by the loss of such a significant brother and friend but I am encouraged by this truth:
Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. (The Message)
David learned this truth and lived it. He willingly loved and laid his life down while present in the earth. The fruit of such a life is seen in the lives of his wife, Rosemary and the fabulous children they have raised. It doesn’t stop there. There are countless numbers of others he impacted on an indivdual and national basis. It was Christ in him. The hope of glory revealed.
David’s involvement in my life has inspired me and encouraged me to continue learning to exist and live in the same manner. Such existence and function in Father’s family is required in the days we have remaining on this planet. May we all learn to live accordingly!
SPECIAL NOTE: I would like to thank all of my brothers/sisters who were sensitive to the Holy Spirt in giving sacrificially, in both finances and prayers, so that I might be sent Australia to be with the Newby family and attend David’s memorial. There are no words to truly express the appreciation for you kindness and your trust in me to represent you.
Keep your peace!